22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
(Preaching of John the BaptistJan Brueghel 1568-1625)
Thoughts: Besides Jesus himself, John gives us the greatest example of humility in the Bible. He did not seek to honor himself, and was able to fight all feelings of jealousy. His disciples were a little jealous almost like "The Methodists have more cars in their parking lot than we do!" But John was willing to accept his lot given to him by God (27). He was able to rejoice in God's glory even if it meant the shrinking of his own glory. Every Christian is called to do the same. The more we grow in our faith, the less honor and glory we want, and the more honor and glory we want for God.
Prayer: May my life honor you. May I decrease and your glory increase, O Lord.
John Calvin Abridged: As the groom invites his friends to partake in the wedding celebration in order to honor the marriage and not to prostitute the bride, so the ministers of Christ are called to not have dominion over the Church but to honor the Lord as Head of the Church. People are appointed over the Church to represent Christ and may not appropriate to themselves what belongs exclusively to Christ. All of our eminence, expertise, and education ought not to replace or hinder Christ's rule over the Church by and according to His Word. We are only friends of the bridegroom.